Directed by Greta Gerwig Cast: Saoirse Ronan, Emma Watson, Florence Pugh, Eliza Scanlen, Laura Dern, Timothée Chalamet, Meryl Streep, Tracy Letts, Bob Odenkirk, James Norton, Louis Garrel, Chris Cooper. Category U 135 Minutes
There have been more than a half a dozen film adaptations of Louisa May Alcott’s American Civil War era novel Little Women. The latest is spectacular. It has a brilliant cast, the chemistry between the main characters is infectious, and the story telling creative and tight.
Unlike other adaptations, this one does not take a strict chronological approach. Instead it is a kaleidoscope of mirrored flashbacks; it is almost like a tumbling cascade of tiny narratives woven together. The freshness of fast-moving scenes and dynamic camera work held my interest throughout.
I have always been surprised that the cinematic adaptations of this story of a Christian minister’s family does not have more overt Christian content. In some ways there is more of the American “can do” spirit about the film. The “Little Women” have clearly picked up some assertiveness training along the way.
Yet there is a quality in the film that reflects issues that are at the heart of the Christian faith; it can be seen in some of the choices made by the main characters. Megan chooses to reject the prevailing narrative of marrying well in order to marry a good man, whom she loves. Jo chooses to leave New York to come home to be with her sick sister Beth.
Maybe this countercultural note mirrors the New Testament idea that Christians do not look to their own interests but to the interests of others.
Photo: Little Women / Wilson Webb / Columbia Pictures
John Woods is pastor of Lancing Tabernacle in West Sussed